1st Edition

Contesting Neoliberalism
Urban Frontiers

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ISBN 9781593853204
Published June 8, 2007 by Guilford Press
340 Pages

USD $40.00

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Book Description

Neoliberalism's ""market revolution""--realized through practices like privatization, deregulation, fiscal devolution, and workfare programs--has had a transformative effect on contemporary cities. The consequences of market-oriented politics for urban life have been widely studied, but less attention has been given to how grassroots groups, nongovernmental organizations, and progressive city administrations are fighting back. In case studies written from a variety of theoretical and political perspectives, this book examines how struggles around such issues as affordable housing, public services and space, neighborhood sustainability, living wages, workers' rights, fair trade, and democratic governance are reshaping urban political geographies in North America and around the world.

Table of Contents

Leitner, Sheppard, Sziarto, Maringanti, Contesting Urban Futures: Decentering Neoliberalism. Peck,Tickell, Conceptualizing Neoliberalism, Thinking Thatcherism. Martin, Mexico's Neoliberal Transition: Authoritarian Shadows in an Era of Neoliberalism. Larner, Butler, The Places, People, and Politics of Partnership: After Neoliberalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Mayer, Contesting the Neoliberalization of Urban Governance. Sites, Contesting the Neoliberal City?: Theories of Neoliberalism and Urban Strategies of Contention. Oldfield, Stokke, Political Polemics and Local Practices of Community Organizing and Neoliberal Politics in South Africa. Bond, McInnes, Decommodifying Electricity in Postapartheid Johannesburg. Wainwright, Spaces of Resistance in Seattle and Cancun. Smith, Articulating Neoliberalism: Diverse Economies and Everyday Life in Postsocialist Cities. Miller, Modes of Governance, Modes of Resistance: Contesting Neoliberalism in Calgary. Theodore, Closed Borders, Open Markets: Immigrant Day Laborers' Struggle for Economic Rights. Eick, Space Patrols -- The New Peace-Keeping Functions of Nonprofits: Contesting Neoliberalism or the Urban Poor? Lehrer, Keil, From Possible Urban Worlds to the Contested Metropolis: Urban Research and Activism in the Age of Neoliberalism. Leitner, Peck, Sheppard, Squaring up to Neoliberalism.

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Helga Leitner is Professor of Geography and a faculty member in the Institute for Global Studies and the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change at the University of Minnesota. She has published two books and has written numerous articles and book chapters on the political economy of urban development, urban entrepreneurialism, the politics of immigration and citizenship, and environmental justice. Her current research interests include immigration and race in the contemporary United States, processes of neoliberalization, and the rise of social justice movements.
Jamie Peck is Professor of Geography and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The author of Work-Place: The Social Regulation of Labor Markets and Workfare States, and coeditor of Remaking the Global Economy and Reading Economic Geography, he is currently researching the political economy of neoliberalization and the restructuring of low-wage labor markets.
Eric Sheppard is Professor of Geography and member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change at the University of Minnesota. He is coauthor of The Capitalist Space Economy and A World of Difference: Society, Nature, Development, and coeditor of A Companion to Economic Geography and Scale and Geographic Inquiry. His current research examines contestations of neoliberalism and the geographical dynamics of trade and neoliberal globalization.


"A major contribution to the critical study of early 21st-century capitalism. Focusing on the role of cities as strategic arenas for neoliberal political projects, the contributors consistently and systematically underscore the profoundly contested character of contemporary urban restructuring. Drawing on a rich trove of case studies from cities around the world, the book explores the variegated strategies through which local actors and organizations have resisted market-based forms of urban governance and their deeply regressive, polarizing consequences for everyday life. This wide-ranging, accessible book contains a unique combination of cutting-edge theorizing, fine-grained empirical analyses, and incisive political critique. It will be essential reading for anyone who seeks to decipher or influence contemporary urban struggles."--Neil Brenner, New York University

"Neoliberalism too often feels like a fait accompli, but this superlative volume shows that it is always a work in progress, shaped by the contestations it calls up against itself. From South Africa to Slovakia, from Calgary to Cancun, the studies in this book provide crucial insight into the roots and trajectory of the neoliberal project as it shapes--and is shaped by--the 'urban frontier.' Here, the authors show, the policies that put neoliberalism on the map run smack up against a full range of progressive struggles to transcend and transform a world in which it often seems like there are no alternatives. Contesting Neoliberalism will contest much of what you think you know about contemporary urban policy and its geography."--Don Mitchell, Syracuse University

"This engaged and decentered account of neoliberalism opens up possibilities for radical change as well as new theoretical insights. Eschewing the usual starting points, Leitner et al. highlight the ongoing constitution of neoliberalism, pointing in particular to its multiple different incarnations on the ground as well as its formation and reformation through urban struggle. Drawing together numerous innovative studies from urban scholarship worldwide, this book demonstrates the importance of thinking empirically and spatially in order to come to grips with this powerful and ever-evolving doctrine."--Katharyne Mitchell, University of Washington

"If you believe the city is a key arena for the making, contestation, and unmaking of neoliberal politics, and if you want to know about how cities are shaped and reshaped by neoliberalism and its discontents, seek no longer. This volume brings together leading scholar-activists to uncompromisingly dissect the realities of neoliberal urbanization and what can be done about it. This is an indispensable contribution for the critical scholar, urban activist, or anyone who is looking for ways to contest neoliberalism’s pensée unique and to fight against its injustices and inequalities."--Erik Swyngedouw, Department of Geography, Oxford University